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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  May 19, 2013 7:00am-9:01am PDT

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miralax. take the miralax pledge to feel better sooner. get a reward like a beauty treatment, a dance class or a $5 gift card with purchase of a specially marked pack. go to for details. this morning, my question. what is the real cost of a burger and fries? and congratulations class of 2013. it's kind of a mess out here. plus, president obama speaks at more house college, but first your genes, your breasts and the choices that women face. good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. it was hard to ignore the three most notable items in the news this week. no, i'm not talking about benghazi, the justice department subpoenas and the irs tea party targeting. i'm talking about anglin owe
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jolie and her left and right breasts. she and they were everywhere after we woke up to a tuesday morning new york times editorial from jolie about her difficult decision to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy to reduce her likelihood of developing breast cancer. she knew the odds she was facing after a test revealed she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of getting the ovarian cancer that killed her mother at age 56. jolie's tests came back positive for a mutation on a gene known as brca 1. mutations on these genes like the one found in jolie's tests exponentially increase breast cancer risk. a woman who has inherited the flaw in the genes is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman
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without the mutation. it is i terrifying possibility to consider both for woman who have tested positive and for women who haven't taken the test but fear what may be lurking in their dna. jolie said she was motivated to share her story by a desire to help women face that fear through empowering themselves with information. she wrote "i chose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they may be living under the shadow of cancer. it is my hope that they too will be able to get gene test and that if they have a high risk, they too will know they have strong options." only women who carry genes with the brca mutation aren't the only beneficiaries of the test. so too the company that owns the exclusive rights to their genes. myriad genetics, a biotech company has owned the rights on it since 1998. you thought your body belonged
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to you? think again. because every copy of each brca 1 and 2 gene in every cell of my body and yours belongs to a private company. so does all the information those genes may be able to tell us about our health. and while those genes are just hanging out inside your cells doing what genes do, they are busy making myriad genetics a lot of money. the patents give the company the sole right to brca analysis that angelina jolie test. nearly one million people have decided to take it in the past decade since myriad was awarded the patents. with no competition, myriad can set a single price for the test. any woman wanting to take the test, should be prepared to shell out $3,000. now, the affordable care act will allow patients to take the test at no cost as part of coverage for preventative care. but that's only for nongrandfathered plans.
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in other words, those that existed after march 23, 2010. grandfathered plans in place before that date are exempt from the ac requirements for preventative requirements. all of the tests add up to half a billion dollars each year in revenue for myriad genetics. the company's stock jumped up to a three-year high after jolie's editorial on tuesday. that's just one company profiting from two genes. in the decade since the gee gnome project -- more than 4,000 have been snatched up and pat t patent patented. 20% of the genome. 4,000 tiny pieces of ourselves that are not fully ours. myriad's monopoly landed the company in the supreme court last month where the justices took up this essential question of whether a private company can claim ownership that's a product of nature, in this case the building blocks of our very being. the answer for now at least is yes.
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myriad is still the only game in town for women who want to follow jolie's advice and take the test. but perhaps as we consider the unsettling understanding that our bodies are not wholly our own, there is something else instructive in jolie's example about the integrity of our bodies. jolie, we see a woman who makes a living due in part to the appearance of her physical body. making the choice to lose precious parts of it but still remaining fully whole. joining me now, dr. monica peek, assistant professor of medicine at the university of chicago. also a founder and executive director of women's health advocacy group, sisters working it out. she's a breast cancer survivor herself. roselle en, erin car moan staff writer for and a political commentator and fellow at auburn. >> thanks for having us. ment. >> doctor, i want to start with
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you. help me to understand what tbrc gene is. >> it's not a routine test available for all women. when we think about breast cancer screening, it's uncommon. 90% of the women who have it don't have an inherited mutation. we should not think this is a routine test like for diabetes or for high cholesterol. we should not expect that everyone should be wanting to have a brca gene mutation test for that. of the tests that exists, brca 1 and 2 are the most common. african-americans so far are not. jewish women are. we know when you have the gene. the increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer is much higher than the average population. the genes are very uncommon. it's incouple bept for women to know their history and family's history and work with a genetic counselor to find out who is at
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risk for that gene. what normally happens the person diagnosed with breast cancer gets tested not the family members. if you have a family member with ovarian cancer and they're still living, they need to get tested for the brca gene. if they don't have it -- >> there's not a reason to think it's in your family. >> rose, i want to go to you. you have had this test yourself. >> yes. >> in part because of your own family history. >> that's correct. >> yet, you still see access as a fundamental problem. >> i do. i feel like $3,000 to $4,000 test is completely out of reach for anyone who doesn't have quality health care insurance. when i took the test, i did have insurance and it covered most of the test except for $150 deductible. but at the same time, i think there's a pervasive testing anxiety right now so that women who perhaps are not actually good candidates to take the test might nonetheless feel that they should. those are women who certainly would not get the test covered through their insurance. >> this is probably why -- i
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mean, this is why the stock jumped up. because aum of a sudden -- particularly, there's enough of a question around mammograms, right. all of a sudden you hear there's another test, i better go out and get that. >> right. my concern is that myriad genetics who has a legal monopoly can profit from stoking the anxiety among women who, again, are not at high risk and don't need to take the test and making them think they do need to take the test. there's an unfortunate corporate profit to be made from stoking anxiety and perhaps failing to differentiate between who is high risk and who isn't. >> erin, you wrote about this in the wake of jolie's decision. it's a tough one. on the one hand, we both need to applaud jolie's personal courage but also the ways in which, whenever you have this celebrity endorsement, it allows information to get out that might not otherwise be there. but then there is this issue of profit margin and who really most benefits from these tests.
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>> the medical professionals and the aclu who brought the case, legal arguments were heard in april. specifically made the case that not only does the gene patent limit the kind of research that can happen. it limits the kind of results you can get. because it can only go through myriad's laboratories. you can't get a second opinion. the last portion of their argument, their brief says it has a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities. one because the genetic variants isn't captured on studies. two, we all know there's an existing framework. this is not in a vacuum. it's going to be governed by the same principles of who has insurance, who has what trust in the medical sis temd and as a result, there have been several studies showing that there are significant disparities who gets the genetic counseling to determine who takes the test. >> there isn't a second test. there isn't a second opinion. you can take the test again.
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but that is really very different. that's all because of the nature of the patent. is there a moral and ethical obligation that we not patent the genes or -- how do we sort of put that against -- on the other hand, the kind of economic benefit that comes from when you have a private company that makes profit, then they do work on this issue. >> right. i think this is an opportunity for us to think about how stories can affect social change so these benefits can be available to all women. we're talking about angelina's story not just because she's a story but because it's powerful. it has resonance. stories can inspire us to see ourselves differently. not just women with cancer. one of my dearest friends, joyce, is someone who is from a low-income background who is diagnosed with multiple myeloma this year. i watched her struggle every day to fight for the health care she needed for a disease that does not get as much attention as breast cancer. for us, among anyone i thought she would be the one who would be put off by the spotlight on a
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celebrity. but joyce was inspired. she said angelina looked bravely into the unknown and took action. we women can be the heroes of our own stories. i think our job now at the table is to think about how stories can affect social change, how we can fight for a world where all women like joyce have the opportunity to be as courageous as angelina jolie. how our health care system can work for all, not just those who afford it. >> when we come back, there's so much more on breast cancer. i want to talk about mammograms and specifically about things you both brought up. that health disparities and what kinds of groups are shut out of this whole story. so more on breast cancer in black and white when we come back. anything's possible,
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this year an estimated 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. nearly 40,000 of those women will lose their battle with the disease. but the heredity genetics that took up the spotlight this week are in fact only a small part of the risk factors that will determine who will receive that diagnosis and who will go on to survive it. as it turns out, your risk is also in the environment your body is in. a study that examined racial disparities in breast cancer mortality rates between 1980 and 2005 found few differences between black and white women. in the early 1990 ez researchers noticed a curious trend. mortality rates for white women declined and the rates for african-american women stayed consistent. the continuation of the trend find us where we are today. according to the centers for disease control and prevention, while breast cancer deaths are
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going down for white women, african-american patients have the highest breast cancer death rates among all women. although the incidents of breast cancer remains higher among white women, african-american women are 40% more likely to die from it. so dr. peek, this is so much of the work that you do. >> absolutely. >> what is causing the racial health disparities? >> a lot of people want to focus on tumor biology and potential geneti genetics. there's something to be said about that story. the real story is one about our society and our health care system and how we're treating women as they get diagnosed, screened and diagnosed and followed through the treatment trajectory. we see this in other situations. whenever we have new technology, new treatments, anything that's new that comes out, there's a potential for creating disparities. those who have money x power, influence know the mayor, can have access to better health care than those who don't. so as we have better ways of diagnosing breast cancer with more treatments that come out, then populations who are more
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affluent and advantaged can take advantage of those and see decreases in breast cancer mortality while others are left behind. this is the story we're seeing. >> the fact that the race story maps on to a map story that there's a geographic story to this as well that chicago where you work is one of the kind of hotspots of mortality, but also that we see the very high rates of mortality through the u.s. south, through places where african-american women often are also living in poverty and simply don't have a lot of access to health care. >> right. >> exactly. when you look at some of the national studies, they'll suggest that the rates between black women and white women are the same for mammogram screening. there's a lot of reason to question the studies. they're telephone based. not all black people have a telephone. the ways that they're sampling patients makes a lot of us call into question, the validity that they're equal mammography rates. that's at the beginning. we have questions about differences in quality of mammograms that people have, the differences in quality of treatment, the access to treatment and once there, the
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kinds of quality of treatment. so breast cancer should not be or is not different than other health disparities. like diabetes. we see this in cancer disease, heart disease, hiv. there's health disparities in the kinds of care women receive and the outcomes they have in this country by race. >> one of the pieces of good news about that, though, if it isn't genetic, if it is social and political, then it's actionable. what are some of the things we need to be anything about as we move forward in terms of breast cancer and these racial disparities? >> it's important to note that, of all women today, white women are most likely to receive a diagnosis for breast cancer. asian women are the least likely to screen for it and black women most likely to die from it. this is true, we're seeing this trend across disease when is it comes to prevention and early detection. that does mean it's actionable. in my own life, i struggled for four years with excruciating pain before i got the diagnosis for advanced endometriosis.
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many women have to see five to eight doctors, wait years. it's not just economic barriers, but a culture that causes women, especially young women, especially women of color, to feel shame about their bodies. to feel shame about their bodies' dysfunctions. if our bodies are not sex symbols or baby makers, we have a hard time seeing that they have worth in and of themselves. so it's about culture where doctors and medical practitioners and communities are able to encourage women to seek out the help that they need. >> i think that's one reason that jolie's op-ed shook -- about how her body is seen as collective property as you've mengtsed. she's this international sex symbol. she has a body that's the auto i deal of our society. so for her to say i'm both making my body very public and i'm putting all of my choices up in public for scrutiny of other people and i'm also saying this
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belongs to me. here's how i chose to make these decisions. that said, i think the specificity of angelina's case, you mentioned, not all breast cancer is caused by this gene mutation. not all women chose the double mastectomy choice which is a radical choice. it's a specific choice because she has a high and unambiguous result to her test. as much as the single stories are incredibly res nant and it's brave to open up the world's scrutiny to her decisions and not everybody has access to that care, even once you have access to the care, there's a spectrum of choices you can make. >> part of what you guys are talking about, about choices and bodies, one of the tensions that i've been thinking about, we keep talking about her breast but not about her ovaries. the other piece of this having lost a parent to ovarian cancer and brca will increase the likelihood of that for her, i wonder if there's something about breast that is we think of public property and less
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shameful in part because there's been such a push around breast cancer research for the past sort of 20-some odd years where it's become more public. to talk about endometriosis. i had a hysterectomy in 2008 as a result of fibroid, which many african-american suffer from. to talk about uteruses and ovaries is still something we don't do. >> she chose to roll it out. but -- she is having surgery on her ovaries. >> it's much deadlier. that has been completely sort of obscured in all of this conversation. >> right. yet, ovarian cancer might be something we want to be talking about with brca. >> absolutely. ovarian cancer is a cancer that it's extremely difficult to screen for. it tends to be detected at a very late stage. that makes it more deadly. >> the mortality rates are much higher. stay with us. we're going to talk more about this. specifically about the pink washing of breast cancer and how that might be both good and bad for what's going on in america.
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corporations claiming ownership of cancer genes aren't the only ones cashing in on the commercial potential of the disease. every year during national breast cancer awareness month susan g. komen, the largest breast cancer awareness organization hopes to make the month of october profitable for all things pink. the organization has been at the forefront of removing the stigma and shame from speaking openly about breast cancer. but it is also opened the door for anyone to turn a profit and paint themselves with concern for women's health by painting themselves with a coat of pink. even if only a minuscule portion of that profit goes to breast cancer research and the pink ribbon is covering up a distinct lack of love for the ladies, take this example from "the new
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york times" magazine cover story where she describes one such addition to the cancer bandwagon. this blew me away. the one from the website called porn hub that would donate a penny to a breast cancer charity for every 30 views of its big or small breast videos. yeah. >> those are the ones that are causing environmental risks in communities that may lead to cancer and their pink washing as well. it goes even further, even more of a district link to cancer and pink washing. >> on the one hand, the komen is the great example of taking a disease that if you think about betty ford coming out, talking about having breast cancer at a time it was shameful and silenced and women dying because of that shame and silence. komen brings it into the open and then even in so doing, generates all of these other negative ex terron ats. what did you think of "the new
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york times" piece? particularly the critiques of mammography that were there. >> there are two issues. one has to do with the education and awareness and are we having overawareness and then the pink washing. we see the same thing with environmental movements and green washing. just because something has a good idea doesn't mean you're not going to have people with bad intentions take advantage of that. we shouldn't expect that somehow the breast cancer movement would be isolated from the things that we're seeing. that's to be taken as a given. the other is just the idea of one needs to have accurate information. certain communities may be overinformed. but really the question is whether or not this is information or misinformation. so i think that a lot of times people will have different perceptions of what they're hearing. they internalize it differently. if you ask a number of women their cancer risk. really the risk is 15% for the average woman. i consider that to be misinformation. it doesn't mean that all of the
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things we see are permeating into some of the most needy communities. i spend most of my time working in very poor, very african-american neighborhoods in chicago. i do this all the time. the questions that i get routinely reflect a significant lack of information about resources and education and what is out there in the world. we have some populations in our country that may have too much information, may not be dealing appropriately with the information and then we have sub pockets that actually still need more information. >> right. >> when we make grand sweeps about what's appropriate for this country, we need to understand women and vulnerable women with access to this information. >> that's a great point. rose-ellen, i want to talk about mammograp mammography, knowing you had the genetic testing and how people make choices about breast self-exams and mammographies. the u.s. services task force recommends against routine screening mammographies in women age 40 to 49. actually, recommends biennial
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screening mammography for women between 50 and 74. only every two years. yet, that may absolutely not be enough if you are someone with a likelihood of getting breast cancer much earlier. >> right. one of the things that or en stein's piece reminded me of was the self-breast exam campaign that was launched in my college dormitory freshman year. in our dormitory communal showers there was one of those cards that hangs on the showerhead reminding you to do a breast exam in the shower. at 18 years old, women really don't need to be doing self-breast exams. that year my mother was dying of breast cancer. the last thing i needed when i took a shower was to be reminded of my breast cancer risk. so there's a sort of perversity of that campaign insofar as the only people who are really responding to that campaign are the people who actually don't need to be reminded. so to me that steaeems like a s of waste of resources.
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with mammography and sort of early screening, again, it's a question of using those resources more wisely and making sure that recommendations are specific and tailored to the particular woman and her particular medical history. and in that sense, i think one of the problems with some of the komen campaigns is that it's a sort of one size fits all slogan. >> the other problem for me with komen this year is just the battle that went on between komen and planned parenthood and the idea that planned parenthood. if we're going to talk about resources and who does and doesn't have access, the idea that planned parnhood provides cancer screening for the poor women, contraception is a third of it, std treatment, abortion is 3% and cancer screening is 12%. komen chooses not, at least for a moment, chose not to give
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their annual money to planned parenthood. >> komen is a politicized group that has claimed a nonpolitical mission. a very interesting point is that komen did not join the lawsuit against myriad genetics. because myriad is a donor of komen. that was pointed out in a blog post. there's also breast cancer action group did join the lawsuit. they don't accept any sort of corporate sponsorships. one of the reasons they're powerful is because they have incredible resources and that also restricts them. they were subject to pressure by republicans when you talk about also, is the mammogram -- when there were new recommendations from hhs on the mammogram front. republicans responded by demagoguing and saying they were rationing care. all of this is deeply political. when you think about what planned parenthood does. an important measure is give out
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the hpv vaccine which is very important for cervical cancer. that's demagoged as well with michele bachmann claiming is causes mental retardation. those are preventible diseases that planned parenthood works on and those are political. stay right there. i want to talk about the diagnosis after the choices and the reconstruction of lives and of breasts when we come back. all business purchases.
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patience and a suspension of disbelief you can't imagine. so this is the part that we talk about less, 1998 is when we saw both the first u.s. postal service breast cancer stamp and the time when we saw health insurance that covered mastectomies having to cover reconstruction. but i don't think we have a good sense of what reconstruction means for women on the other side. what is that part of the story? >> it varies for different women depending on what kind of reconstruction they're going to have. if their breast cancer is severe, they may need more radical forms. we're finding cancers earlier. what a lot of women choose dho is have a mastectomy is basically an implant put in that grows the tissue over time so that you don't have to come back with a skin flap your skin naturally grows. weekly you'll have injections of saline until the implant is big enough that the skin has grown enough and then you switch it
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out for a real implant. that's an option that takes two surgical procedures and then multiple sort of visits in between. >> therefore, a lot of intensity of living with the breast cancer survival. so that there's all of the living with being the breast cancer patients and then there's the kind of constant living with how your body is fundamentally altered forever. >> in this case, we can learn from other afflicted communities who have struggled to use their stories, to enact social change in their individual lives across the nations. i think of the years spent by aids activists taking on the health care industry, fighting the pharmaceutical companies to get access to life-saving medicines. this whole story was documented in the film how to survive a plague. those communities have shown how to survive after fighting a plague. those communities have shown what the lessons should be from jolie's story, which is that breaking the silence around these issues is the first step. the next step is organizing.
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the next step is making sure that companies like myriad don't hold the monopoly over life-saving genetic testing. the next step is making sure that prevention is possible for all women. not just prevention when it comes to mammograms or genetic testing. making sure that women have exercise, access to whole clean foods, to be able to care for their own bodies as much as they care for others. to be able to have the courage to tell their stories. not just around breast cancer, which we hear about so much but other diseases like endometrios endometriosis. >> i do feel like there's a way in which for us, our bodies and the notion of what our bodies are, carries such value, it's so connected to who we think we are from adolescence forward, whether we're thin enough or fit enough or beautiful enough and so then the -- >> fertile enough. once you give up your reproductive -- there's
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something less womanly about you. >> what is the story of for all women whether dealing directly with breast cancer or not we ought to take from angelina jolie. >> i have a colleague writing beautifully at salon. i recommend looking up her stories about she's undergoing an experimental trial in immunotherapy. she has stage 4 metastatic cancer. she had melanoma. she is constantly writing about the cancer industry on the stories of hope. yes, this is about stigma and about talking about cancer as something that should not be shameful. but something that mary beth also says is that unfortunately, sometimes people die of cancer. that doesn't mean that they lost a fight. they weren't brave, they didn't fail. when we construct this as did you have determination? i was reading jolie's doctor's blog post, because she has a positive outlook, she's doing well. we want to feel like we have this measure of control. if we do everything perfectly,
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get the right screening test, if we get the right reconstruction, we'll be whole as people and get to survive. we don't, unfortunately, have the power to control all of those things. some people will die and it's not because they were weak or did things wrong in every case. >> i appreciate that. we're going to end the conversation here in part because i think that is critically important. that it is not failure to die from breast cancer. that we're not a control of the whole thing and i think that's part of the fear that we have around it. so embracing that reality might also be part of reducing at that fear. thank you to dr. monica peek. please come back to our table again. >> to rose-ellen and erin and valerie will be pack. the real price of a $4 hamburger. changing the world is exhausting business. with the innovating and the transforming and the revolutionizing. it's enough to make you forget that you're flying five hundred miles an hour on a chair that just became a bed.
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(alarm clock buzzer) ♪ (announcer) friskies. now serving breakfast. it's the weekend. many families will sit down to a
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home cooked meal. many americans during the week grab burger king, wendy's, mcdonald's. if you're in manhattan expect to pay $4.59 for a big mac or $3.99 for a quarter pounder. add $2.29 for a large order of fries and $2.49 for a large shake, plus tax. those are the low prices you have come to expect. part of the special sauce that keeps the prices so low is under protest. five major cities, new york, chicago, st. louis detroit and last wednesday milwaukee have seen fast food workers walk out on the job in protest of their wages and inability to unionize. that protest in milwaukee this past week drew between 150 and 200 workers. according to estimates by the strikers organizing. that's a little bit less than the original strike here in new york drew back in november. but it was 400 or so fast food workers that walked out in the detroit metro area strike earlier this month. $15 an hour as a wage floor is
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what the protesters are seeking. the minimum wage they're being paid now starts as low as the national rate of $7.25 per hour. it's the same as it was in 2010 when the median food and beverage worker made $18,130 per year. that means if you're the sole earner in a family of three, you would have been at the federal poverty line in 2010, precisely at it. let's say hur lucky enough to work 40 hours a week. today at minimum wage in one of these restaurants that's only $15,080 perfect year. if you're one of those workers in -- the annual income would bump up to $18,720. increasing wages to what the striking workers want $15. that would make a full-time fast
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food worker's annual income $31,200. now, let's be clear. that's the goal. not great riches for the fry guy at the mcdonald's. just $31,200. meanwhile, mcdonald global ceo don thompson, after he was promoted last july, his compensation rose to $13.75 million per year. hmm. well, you know what they say after all, billions and billions served. but what about those doing the serving? one of those fast food workers right here in new york city is supporting his family on minimum wage. he joins us next. (announcer) scottrade knows our clients trade and invest their own way. with scottrade's smart text, i can quickly understand my charts, and spend more time trading. their quick trade bar lets my account follow me online so i can react in real-time. plus, my local scottrade office is there to help.
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it looks like excess cells. the new film adaptation of f. scott fitzgerald's novel "the
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great gatsby" is on track to pass the $100 million mark at the box office this weekend. the cinematic exploration of the 1920s era of decadence of privilege of the spoiled rich gives us the 99% economic divide. even as gatsby is playing in multiplexes across the country, a resurgence of protests is being ignited among the nation's lowest wage workers. fast food workers in five cities tajed high-profile strikes walking off the job to demand a $15 per hour minimum wage. dorian warren wrote for mcclach i newspapers, how ironic while the film is recreating a past era of excess and greed, employees in the fast food and retail industries across the country are engaging in unprecedented strikes over today's flow of wealth from working people to the rich. joining me now to further dig into that is dorian warren
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associate professor of professor -- at columbia university and fellow at the roosevelt institute. scott ross of wisconsin now and kassim silver a burger king employee who took part in the strikes in new york city. kassim, i'll start with you. you've got kids? >> yes. >> you work full-time. how do you support a family on this? >> it's a super challenge. sincerely speaking, it's really impossible by yourself. three daughters, a wife. once i get past my metro card for the week, that's a necessity to commute. after that, i'm pretty much broke. bills, pampers. as far as enjoying the things like eating lunch maybe somewhere else every day, that's not in the budget. primarily i have to focus on commuting to work, to get the money that i use to space out
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whatever i can. it's a hard process. >> so, you know, i feel cassen like a lot of times when people hear about us talking about fast food workers striking, they're talking about teenagers with their summer jobs. what is it people need to know about the full-time father and husband working in these circumstances. what is it that you would need to make this job work for you? >> well, to be candid, of course, as a father and husband, benefits is essential. fast food workers do get sick too, from time to time. and their family. those are the things that we do not have the luxury of saying, okay, well i can at least say that my medical is taken care of. it absolutely doesn't happen. in fact, they even perpetuate it where they make sure you don't make a certain amount of hours weekly so that they don't have to allot you benefits. this goes on all over. it's something that once you've
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been there for some amount of years, you realize, okay, i'm being used. i'm being used. >> so dorian, ka seen's story is a story we're seeing all over the place. when we talk about strikes, the first thing i hear, not the big mcdonald's chairman, the local franchise owner say if i pay $15 i'm going out of business and then he has no job at all. >> that's a fair point. twoef look at the bigger picture. mcdonald's as a corporation made $5.5 billion in profits last year. >> billions of millions. >> they can afford to pay their franchise ees more money to pass on to workers. so it should not be an issue if it's the workers versus the franchisees, they need to be organized frankly to say to the parent corporation, no, no, this is not sustainable. we want to treat our workers right, we want to do the right thing and you can afford it. we can all afford it. >> and this feels to me like these worker strikes comes at a
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time when we're seeing the traditional labor unions being taken, sort of taken down really, mostly by republicans at the state level. >> i think what you see is this. the six biggest fast food companies had $18 billion in domestic revenue last year. the six ceos of those companies made $50 million. the average worker at a fast food restaurant would need to work 1300 years to make what the ceo of the biggest one made just last year. i think like what you say, there is an attack going on. when raise up in milwaukee, there was an all out assault by the noise machine led by the bradley foundation funded groups in wisconsin, those being the campaign co-chair of scott walker. it is an all-out assault. what we have to remember is, we have to remember that the people who are working these jobs are not teenagers making pocket change. >> right. >> the median age, 28 years old. two thirds of the workers in the
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fast food industry, low wage workers are women. their median age is 32 years old. these are people trying to support their families. it's very simple. they need to be paid for what they're doing. >> why did you make the decision to strike? you said to me, i feel i was taken advantage of. were you nervous if you went out on strike, you could lose your job? >> a lot of the whole speculation has brought other fast food workers, no, i need my job. it's not what i want but i need it, and you know, there has been intimidating factors that has been attempted. but at the end of the day, it's something that you have to do. i know that in any company or organization that has a union, they had to fight for it. they had to speak up for themselves. we can take this way back to martin luther king days when the janitors wanted to strike. they had to speak up for themselves and say this is going on, this is not right and we need to bring attention on this. at the end of the day, we just
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want to be productive citizens and we know that this is not something that we just want for ourselves so we can have in our pocket. this is to replenish the community that we say we're servicing. >> this is so important. what happens to our economy if in fact low-wage workers make $15 an hour instead of $7. >> few things. we as taxpayers stop subsidizing the low-wage business model. as you pointed out, they play with the -- the bosses play with hours so workers aren't eligible for health benefits. what happens? then public assistance, medicaid is the primary way in which workers are able to take care of themselves. we're subsidizing as taxpayers health care and other survival necessities. >> basically, we're -- we're subsidizing mcdonald's, right? it's not even so much that we're subsidizing his family. it's not that. we're making it possible for that mcdonald's chairman to make those millions and for mcdonald's to make billions because taxpayers then have to take on the rest of it. there is so much more.
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thank you to kassim silver for joining us and thank you to dorian and scott who will stay with us in the next hour. coming up next, the class of 2013. so much promise, so much debt. what the future holds for millenia millenials. it could be the jobs at mcdonald's. you're going to want it to be 15 d an hour. we want to take you live to more house college where the president obama will give the commencement address moments from now. there is more nerdland at the top of the hour. thank you orville and wilbur... ...amelia... neil and buzz: for teaching us that you can't create the future... by clinging to the past. and with that: you're history. instead of looking behind... delta is looking beyond. 80 thousand of us investing billions... in everything from the best experiences below... to the finest comforts above. we're not simply saluting history...
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5,000 data samples per second. which is good for business. because planes use less fuel, spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. suddenly, faraway places don't seem so...far away. ♪ ♪ now you can give yourself a kick in the rear! v8 v-fusion plus energy. natural energy from green tea plus fruits and veggies. need a little kick? ooh! could've had a v8. in the juice aisle. welcome back. i'm professor melissa harris-perry. it's sunday may 19th. graduation day for many. i thought it only appropriate that i wear my academic re gallon i can't to celebrate with them. we're awaiting president barack obama's commencement address to the 2013 graduating class at
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morehouse college in atlanta, georgia. we will bring that to you live later in the show. the president isn't the only one giving graduation speeches this year. first lady michelle obama has spent a couple of days giving rousing commencement addresses. on friday, there was this speech at historically black college bowie state in maryland. >> as the abolitionist frederick douglass put it, education means emancipation he said. he said it means light and liberty. it means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth. the only light by which men can be free. you hear that? the only light by which men can be freed. >> yes, education is supposed to mean freedom and opportunity. in fact, when her husband, president barack obama addresses the young men of morehouse college in atlanta, one of the most inspirational stories in
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the audience will be that of dorian joyner sr. and jr. they're the father and son team graduating together from morehouse today. the other joyner started in 1984 but he didn't finish. three years ago he returned to morehouse when his son was a freshman. their story is inspirational but it takes more than that to earn a college degree. the dream of being a college graduate is increasingly unavailable to those not born into wealth. a new study by the century foundation shows that while 71% of young people in the highest income families go on to earn a four-year college degree, only 10% from america's poorest families ever walk across that stage to accept a bachelors. student loans are the only answer for many students dreaming of a degree who can't afford tuition. today, there are 37 million americans and i'm one of them who are still paying on student loans. met letter's study shows that indebtedness is especially bad
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for the students who turn to for-profit colleges and universities. while the tuition and fees at for-profit tuinstitution rs no worse than private institutions, almost 100% of the students attending for profit are borrowing money. average at private is more than $33,000 and 23% of the students who borrow money to attend these for profit institutions default on their loans. happy graduation day, class of 2013. the struggle continues even for you. what is a millenial to do? at the table, dorian warren, associate professor at columbia university and fellow at the roosevelt institute. andy champ, vice president for personal and career development at my undergraduate alma mater, wake forest university. scott ross, director of one wisconsin now and valerie kaur. let me start with you andy. how do we start thinking about
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how to young people about paying for college education when they are in terror of the stats i just gave about student loans? >> one of the things i think a lot of students find with all in bad news is that they get very discouraged thinking that there is really nothing out there. one of the things that they don't realize is that there's a lot more than just the jobs you see on the internet. at least half and up to 75% of the jobs that are available are in the hidden market. because of that, if students can actually be taught how to network and make connections, be introduced to people, to understand that actually the number one thing i think employers really want is they want to see that you're prepared, that you're resourceful, that oven enthusiasm and that you have a strong work ethic. that you're bringing that to the table from the first moment you interview. things can happen. what happens is students want to sit behind their computer, apply to jobs on the internet and assume people will get back to them and say you have a job.
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it's not that easy. if we can encourage students to make connections, good innings will happen. >> so dorian, part of what i realize as i listen to andy, i went to wake forest, small undergraduate institution where people are going to talk to you, counsel you, you'll get advice about it. when you look at the numbers around debt and borrowing, the fact that it is happening basically at the walmart of colleges, at these for-profit schools where 96% of their students are taking out loans, then a quarter of them are defaulting and guess who picks up the tab. again, we're underwriting, right, the for-profit schools. how do we make it clear to students consumers in the market just how problematic it is to attend those sorts of schools with debt? >> bankruptly laws, the only debt you can't unload is student loan, you can unload mortgage debt, credit card debt. we're literally trapping in a cast system today's students. i think what we need to convince
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graduates is that they need to organize. >> oh. >> they need to organize and join forces with senator warren and say, something has to fundamentally change in terms of how our system of higher education operates in this country. the increasing debt is unsustainable. we're putting a whole new generation of folks in lifetime debt before they even get started. i think the only way around that is to organize and say no, no, no, something has to change. lower interest rates. how about we forgive that debt. that would help the economy, actually. >> scott, is that a possibility. i like the idea of imagining the milien he wills in their own movement that deeply impacts them and also have enormous possibilities on -- >> student loan debt is a clear and present danger to the american economy. we did original research at one wisconsin now. what we found was that if you have a student loan debt, you are two-thirds more likely to own a used car as opposed to a new car.
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you are two-thirds more likely to be a renter than a homeowner. you are paying an average in wisconsin for four years of 18.7 years. that's all monday that i could be flooded into the economy to help these people achieve their dreams and we have to do something systematic. the most important thing to tell people is it ain't the borrower's faults. >> this is so important. buying the new car isn't about being floss i, don't you want a new car. i'm sorry, i'm from the '70s. it's not that. the idea is that if you buy the new car, you contribute to the economy. if you are a homeowner, there's all these owe all this external money that goes into the system. >> absolutely. it's the entrance into the middle class. what we have to remember is that this system which exists now is because of fundamental changes that were made. the privatization, the stripping away of consumer protection afforded a commercial transaction in the united states. for instance, there's no statute of limitations on student loans. i'm not an attorney, i'm not an
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attorney. but there are four crimes with no statute of limitations. murder, war crimes, kidnapping, treason and now student loan debt. what does that say about us as a people? i will say this. like you, i have student loan debt and next month, i'm proud to announce that i will make the final payment on my student loan debt at the age of 44. it represents an economic disaster, look at the ravages of paying off student loan debt at the age of 44. >> valerie, you're the millenial at the table at least at the moment. what does this do as you sort of look out into your future? >> i think the class of 2013 will make it if we embody the greatest parts of our generation. the greatest qualities of our generation and we organize. i spend almost every week on another college campus. what i'm hearing is that students are incredibly sober in the face of this debt, in the face of the job market. in the face of washington gridlock. somehow they remain optimistic and confident. pragmatic. we're ready to lean into our
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careers but we also care about leaning toward a more equitable society for all people. that we are frus straighted with the status quo. we're impatient with the status quo. more than any other generation in history, we have the tools to actually channel that frustration into action into organizing. it's not the -- >> more than any other generation in history. what you don't have is necessarily a model for labor organizing in the way that my mother's generation did or even i did. i was walking around today feeling proud of myself for being born in the '70s. when i finished college and graduate school, i came into an economic boom, like smart for me to be born in the '70s. if you weren't, actually you guys have fewer structural possibilities around you. >> yes. we're finding ways to be entrepreneur yell in spaces outside of institutions of power. i think that's what's promising. that we're the twitter gin ration. it's not the me, me, me generation. it's the us, us, us generation.
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even though we came of age with the mantra of yes we can, we came in the shadow of a decade of post 9/11. we understand the challenges we're up against. yet, we're finding ways to challenge institutions of power. just think of what we're doing at auburn seminary. michelle and jake and isaac and dan, their millenials, they're my age. we found ways to bring online organizing to the interfaith movement and then at a year groundswell has more than 100,000 members. that's happening in pockets around the country. if we can get institution toss pay attention to reform the economy, the criminal justice system, to reform debt. >> you're such a millenial. all this optimism. after the break, if you're going to pay off the loans class of 2013, you're going to need jobs. i'm going to talk to andy about how you can get some. >> i think one of the best innings about finishing college is suddenly having tons of options. but even though i'm excited to graduate, the thing that scares me the most about finishing is
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you're looking at a live shot of morehouse college in atlanta, georgia. in a few minutes, president obama will give the commencement speech there. as soon as he begins to speak, we'll bring you there live the prevailing thought has always been if you complete college, you'll have a better chance of getting a job. the numbers tell the tale. college graduates have half the unemployment rate of high school grads. almost 73% of recent college graduates in october 2011 were
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employed. yet in spite of the numbers, new study shows that nearly half of all graduates from four-year colleges are in jobs that they feel don't require a four-year degree. andy, i'm interested because i know that you recently hosted a conference of colleges asking what do schools now need to be doing, what kind of advice do you need to be giving to graduates that is different from when i was in school or dorian or maybe even valerie. so what is it that schools need to now be doing to prepare their graduates for the workforce? >> sure. we know that the world of work has been kpletly transformed. there are fewer jobs available, that employer standards of what they're looking for is so much higher. graduates competing with people who are ten, 20 years older than them for the same exact jobs. with all that competition, the students need to be both aware it's happening but also be prepared for that. the number one thing that i think that most schools have sort of not really been keeping up with is the fact that their
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faculty need to actually get connected to the employers. they actually have to know what's going on outside in the world. if the faculty -- >> which is tough. this is my first real job ever, right in the sense of like i went from college to grad school to the academy. if a student would ask me how do you get a job? i don't know. i never had one of those. >> that's right. what we've done at wake forest is that our office, i really think of it as a bridge between the outside world and the world of the academy. what we've done is been able to capture the data of what our students have done as alums and bring them back to campus to work with the faculty so the faculty start to think, my english major can become a doctor, can become a business person, can become a teacher, whatever it might be. it's a wide variety of things. most of the students are thinking, if i major in anthropology, i will never get a job. in fact, when you look at the alumni, they do many great things. we have to share the data first and second, we have to bridge the relationships. that's the best part. today with the internet, linked
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in as an example gives you so many opportunities to create those kinds of connections. half of our student body is on linked in with profiles. they can connect with the alums out there. there are parents in the database. >> here's the one thing that worries me dorian as a pureist in the academy. in a certain way i don't want the 18-year-old sitting in my class thinking about this. i both do and don't. i want them to graduate and have good jobs. but i want them to engage with me about ideas during the few years they have to just think about ideas and not think about work. how do we kind of bridge that gap between the work that is college education and becoming the person that college allows you to be versus finding a job on the back end? >> this is an endemic problem. i have not met a student in the last few years that only has one major. they're all double, triple, quadruple majors. >> the thing i love and the thing that will make me money? >> right.
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i might do african-american studies but also political science for economics because that will get me a job. >> international finance and modern dance. >> so i think it is about fundamentally a decision about education and what's the role of college in the 21st century. is it about developing ourselves and capacity to be able to make a contribution in the world or careerist and professional and you get specific skills so that you can get a job. not a career. a job. because there's a difference between those two things that i think millenials are finding out now. are you going to get the skills for a job after you finish, or is it something deeper? are you going in debt, frankly, to be developed as a full human being? that's the question. i think there are different views on that question. >> scott, look, it seems to me that a big part of the issue is not so much unemployment as it is underemployment. when we look at unemployment for recent graduates, it really is much higher for latinos at 13.2%, african-americans at
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10.8%, white american students at 8.7%. these are still numbers that look pretty darn good compared to the national numbers. i'm sorry, that's recent graduate unemployment rate by race from the consumer financial protection bureau. but the issue isn't less about employment and more about underemployment. getting a job but it being a job that doesn't use your skills or doesn't use your capacities and doesn't pay well. >> i think what it is, it shows that we need an all -- we need a real solution to some of these things because we need to have jobs that pay people so they can support their families. what we're finding is this cycle of debt is not just -- it's not just starting with one generation. it then moves on. for instance, i think this statistic more than anything else ought to terrify america. that is that 120,000 people over the age of 60 had their social security payments garnished because of student loan debt. you know, so we think about how
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are we going to make our economy work long-term. it's all of these things. it's good jobs, it's good education. we have to ask ourselves three questions. one, is public education still a public good that's going to be supported by the public. second, what do we do about the existing trillion dollars of debt whand do we do to keep it from being $2 trillion by the end of this decade. third, what are the long-term effects on our economy if we don't do something? >> absolutely. valerie, i'm going to let you weigh in here. when you're talking to other young people finishing up, whether law school or grad school or undergrad. what are the things they're telling you they're most nervous about? >> they're most worried about being able to pursue their passion in such an unstable world. they're worried about being such champions of president obama and seeing how their hope and institutions of power to effect change from the inside is much harder. it takes much more work than they could possibly have imagined. they are understanding that courage is not shear strength.
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courage is vulnerability. we have to learn how to be courageous enough to take risk in a very vulnerable world. but we're not alone. that we can look to the past to resistances in the past. to draw inspiration to continue to write a new future. >> our institutions can help us to be not alone. >> that's right. >> in this world. thank you to scott ross, valerie kaur. dorian and andy are staying for more. president obama is expected to speak live momentarily at morehouse college in atlanta, georgia. we're going to go there live when he does. after the break, we're going to bring in some class of 2013 folks. that's a lot of student debt coming to my table after the break. >> my biggest fear about graduating is getting sucked into the grind and never really loving or appreciating what i do on a day-to-day basis. my mother made the best toffee in the world.
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atlanta, georgia. in a few moments, president obama will deliver the commencement speech there. we'll bring it to you live. joining me now onset is a combined total of $136,000 in real and projected student debt. they have real names. brittany just graduated from syracuse university with $10,000 in debt. she's going on to get her masters degree in social work and public health. that will put her post secondary debt at $100,000. and victoria who graduates friday from mary mont manhattan college with a degree in communications. her grand total of college debt will be about $36,000. so ladies, how you feeling? >> excited. >> okay. tell me. that makes you a millenial. you're not even nervous about the $30,000. >> oh, auto i'm nervous. who knows what's happening to me. i have this debt and no full-time job post the summer. who knows how that's being paid.
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>> when you made that decision and where you are now, would you make your decisions any differently in terms of making sort of taking out the debt or do you feel like nope, this was still fundamentally worth it? >> it was absolutely worth it. i decided to come to a private school out of state. i'm originally from south carolina. i wanted to go where there was a lot of professional development opportunities for me, within school, out of school, a lot of networking. i did every possible thing you could do to cut costs. i graduated school, i'll be graduating a year early. i'm supposed to be a junior and i'm say senior. >> you did that in part to keep the debt down? >> i did a semester of classes while in high school, the other semester i made up through three summers in january courses which you're able to pay those out of pocket rather than an entire semester of school of tuition. so i did that. i moved out of the dorms. i pay rent every month so that's not -- i don't have to pay for
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my living expenses on top of that debt ten extra years. >> you're coming off relatively little undergraduate debt but making a decision to go to grad school in a field that i presume you are deeply interested in and love and to take on more debt. why that decision? >> i feel like i need the tools. so like i go and i do this every day and i see all the jobs, they say a masters in social work or masters in public health and three to five years experience with the masters. i feel like i don't even have a choice. i graduated with a bachelors in women and gender studies. while i did a lot of work during that, i think that's really important that i didn't just go to college. i had to actually work while in college. start an organization and do community organizing while in school. but then when i graduated, it's like what do i do with that when all the jobs are asking for masters. i want to be really good at my field and competent in that. but taking out $90,000 for that is what made me nauseous when i applied. there's all this happiness yes i
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got into graduate school, yes i got into columbia. yes i got $90,000 of debt coming. >> i want to be clear. you were doing without parental support. you're not in a family circumstance where you have parents who could be writing these checks for you. >> yeah. >> so i was undergrad, i was lucky to be a part of a program for a students that are disenfranchised or do not have the financial support that supported me through my years in college. a lot of the loans i had to take were for living expenses. you have to pay to stay at college, pay to eat. i had to take those. when coming to graduate school the same thing happens. everyone is an independent student. but for me, it's like i still don't have that support. so i'm taking out loans for just medicine and things like that. >> andy, you looking at two young women going out into this job market. this is the kind of students that you work with all the time. is there key advice that you would give them as they're thinking forward about the next steps for them? >> sure. first thing i want to say how
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impressed how thoughtful you are about this whole process. you're clearly on top of it, clearly thinking strategically about what to do. thoughtful about making the choices. that's one of those things that first students do need to do. second, is that we talked a little bit about this notion that how do you actually stay connected to people and one of the things i like to talk about, every student has a set of adult fans, people who think they rock, people written their recommendations, coached them, loved them and their family. i would say spend time with those people and don't be afraid to ask for advice, to ask for ideas, to ask for introductions and as a result, and especially ask for feedback. we've talked about that a little bit with the students. like make sure that you're actually asking them honestly, tell me what i can do. what more can i learn? how can i make sure that when i go to an interview, i'm really ready. students think if i do enough interviews, i'll be good. if you're not so good in the beginning and you keep doing bad interviews, you're not going to get better. they need that kind of feedback.
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i think that's the first start which is a big piece to me, i use the 80/20 rule. 80% be with people, talk to people. 20% be on the internet doing research, not the other way around. >> i like the language of adult fans. we definitely have a group of young people who nerdland is big fans of and seeing where you all are in your educational process. i think the other question i want to ask you and follow with dorian, do you all ever think about medicare and medicaid? the reason i ask you is because you're thinking student loans now. i'm wondering as you make voting decisions or thinking about your own life planning, i know it feels really far off, they're talking about 2030, 2033 when this may not be available to you. is this part of your life planning? >> we were just talking about this earlier. the idea that we're starting our lives with mountains of debt. we want to own homes and have kids and provide for them.
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what if we can't? she's getting more education. that adds and adds. what if we don't have the same thing that our parents and grandparents have, those securities. what if medicine is much harder to access, health, preventative care. especially if you have a preexisting condition. >> dorian, i heard you say in part you take loans to pay for medicine. i have a chronic illness. that was one thing in college. there's all these assumptions about you pay for parties, all these things. i had to pay for medicine in school. so when we talk about health care, that hits home for me. i'm interested in health policy, mostly for myself. being able to pay that co-pay. i have to go the emergency room. that's $50 for me. so even thinking about that, like it's not just education. i want to change the world, but i have to like help myself and be able to live. >> you got to stay in the world to be able to help it. >> as soon as we come back -- actually, president obama is getting set for his remarks at the morehouse commencement this
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morning. we'll bring you that live after the break. my biggest fear about graduating is now i have to start cutting. cutting out the people i know, the places i've been and the things i do. but most of all, i have to cut my hair. out of this fear, though, is born a new freedom. a freedom to choose. i get to decide where i go and what i do and that's what makes it so exciting. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin. [ designer ] enough of just covering up my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer through 6 months. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events, including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers,
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we'll continue to await president obama's commencement address at morehouse college in atlanta, georgia. we'll bring that to you live as soon as it happens. we've been discussing the clafs 2013. joel steinstirred up controversy with the me, me, me generation in the may 20th edition of "time" magazine in which he profiles members of that class and all millenials as narcissistic, sbieltd and lazy.
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steinsays that one quality, their unwavering optimism. some of which has been on display in nerdland may be the key to building a better future. despite our current economic situation, challenging job market, 80% of millenials are can dent they'll get what they want out of life. dorian, let me ask you about this. part of the reason that optimism exists is because we think there's a social safety net in place that really may not be there for them on the other end. social security and medicare, which is the great promises of the american system to our citizens eroding by the time these young people are old enough to take advantage of it. >> i think interesting about that cover story in time, the me, me, me generation is we're all in a state of me right now. older folks, the baby boomers are thinking about me in terms of retirement, social security, health care, medicare, all of those things. they're thinking -- that generation has then transmitted a narcissism to their children. and their children's children.
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we're all in in me state. whereas, millenials are just trying to think about how are they going to get a job. how are they going to pay off their student loans. not thinking about will i have retirement, will there be social security. we're all stuck in in me state thinking about the near future not focused on the long-term. >> that's interesting. there's a way in which if we look at public policy, it tracks the baby boomers. because they have been so big and dominating, whatever they want is what our economy generates and creates now for decades. maybe they're the me, me, me generation and this is the now, now, now generation not out of narcissism but out of necessity. >> out of necessity for survival, what's going to be there. of course, we've learned it from our parents and our parents parents. we have to look at the fact that the baby boomers are incredibly stressed. >> yes. >> incredibly stressed. not being able to work full-time, hitting career ceilings. not knowing -- a lot of people
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lost their retirement in the crash or the great recession. there's a stress level as well among the baby boomers that's been, i feel like been transmitted to younger folks. >> andy, in terms of institutions, that also matters. because the baby boomers, that age cohort ought to be the ones who in part are subsidizing college education, right? part of what's happened is the reduction in endowments for private universities that occurred as a result of the stock market crash. but also state universities who have substantially had to reduce their or substantially increase their tuition because state governments are not giving them what they once gave even though it's much cheaper for a family to pay a marginally higher tax rate and support college than to pay more in college tuition, right? i'm wondering, as a representative of the institution, how you find yourself as your own kind of sandwich generation, baby boomers not having the resources to give to support institutions but institutions needing more to support the millenials. >> i think that the whole idea
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of the big gap between the divide between the rich and the poor is really being sort of seeing higher education too. you take the elite private institutions, the families who have the money to give the kind of endowment we're talking about is still happening. so there are some of those at that level i would call very much elite. it's just in a way where they are going to be able to survive the next storm coming for higher education. i think the state institutions and many, many small colleges who don't have that kind of families and alumni to support it, there's going to be change. i think it's going to be dramatic. >> how did you decide where to go to school? was it in part about financial aid, about what it costs or did you ultimately feel like i can make this decision and i'll figure out a way to pay for it? >> i definitely chose on cost. i got acceptance letters and then i waited for financial aid packages. it was very important. as far as -- that is how i chose. i chose where i got the most scholarship, least amount of loans and tried to apply to
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other things to reduce my loan debt. i did think about the future and whether or not i would be able to pay that back. just thinking about loans in itself, loans were a curse word in clj for many of us. you got loans? oh. >>e i'm sorry you got those loans. >> financial aid is frequented too. you go to your financial aid person because you need to talk about this. you don't need $10,000 in loans for one semester. so i did think about that. >> how about you? >> unfortunately for me, financial aid was not given to me as much. it's very tough. i'm an only child of two suburban parents. it looks like they can pay that no matter what. that's really not the case. and so for me, it was kind of like where did i get in, where did i think was really going to cultivate me, not only personally but professionally, academically to move forward in my life and moving forward. >> this point that you make is in part about that divide. so that now disappearing middle is burdened in ways that are
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even more extreme because if you're not part of an endowment capacity family but you're also not in a circumstance where you become eligible for other kinds of aid, you find yourself in the middle. yet, you guys somehow still manage to be wildly optimistic. more of which we'll talk about when we come back as we await president obama's address in atlanta, georgia. we're talking more about what's at stake for the class of 2013 and their unseemly optimism. want younger looking eyes that say wow? with olay, here's how. new regenerist eye and lash duo. the cream smooths the look of lids... softens the look of lines. the serum instantly thickens the look of lashes. see wow! eyes in just one week with olay. you get 5% back, on everything. everything. everything. everything. everything. everything. everything? [ all ] everything?
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[ male announcer ] the distances aren't getting shorter. ♪ the trucks are going farther. the 2013 ram 1500 with best-in-class fuel economy. engineered to move heaven and earth. guts. glory. ram. the new ram 1500. motor trend's 2013 truck of the year. we're still awaiting president obama's address to the graduating class at morehouse college in atlanta, georgia. one of the most prestigious historically black colleges in the country. we'll take you live to atlanta as soon as the president begins his address. we've been discussing the class of 2013 and in particular millenia millenials. they've grown up in a post 9/11 world with two ongoing wars and a bad economy. also with the first african-american president, with the increasing legalization of
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same-sex marriage in many states and also an increasingly racially diverse nation. as a result, their cognitive framework for understanding the world is different than generations before them. which leads me to ask this question. is it possible that this will allow them to succeed in ways past generations haven't, in building a more inclusive andy verse democracy. ladies, i want to ask you about this. there seems to be mixed evidence for the millenials. same-sex marriage on the one hand, 70% of millenials support marriage equality, right? sort of -- this is true across ideolo ideology, across democrat, republican. then when we ask questions about race and gender at georgetown university, ask whether or not gender would make any kind of difference on career, 63% said no, i don't think it's going to make any difference and both white and min he will yells of color saying we think our race will help us. 18% saying it will hurt.
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apparently, you guys are in a world where you're imagining hey, i'm not worried about race, i'm not worried about marriage. it's all good. >> that's stunning. >> isn't that stunning. >> i'm stunned because one of the biggest problems in the american workforce is occupational segregation by race and gender. how to deal -- we don't have the legal tools adequate to the task at hand. so the notion that race -- i mean, it's great. maybe it's delusional for millenials to think it's not going to matter. but that's astounding. >> i got to tell you, when i was reading these reports over the past day or so as we were prepping for this, i kept open-mouthed awe at this. it does feel delusional and wonderful. like perhaps the most wonderful delusion i've ever seen. when you all are thinking what it means to be in your generation, where do you put issues of race and gender and sexual orientation in class. >> it's still an issue. the statistics are great and so wonderful to think that's how it's going to go. but there is still an issue and
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i know for me, i work in a very -- in an industry that there's not a lot of women. so the gender role is still important. i have to prove myself harder. i have to work harder and make more connections that i can do the job as the male dominated force. and that's why i want to keep doing what i'm doing to open that door for the future so that those statistics can be real and no one thinks it's delusional like this is a real thing. >> i guess i would say i was surprised. that does surprise me. maybe it's because i studied race, gender and sexuality, and i navigate this world with those types of identities. so i am -- i am thinking about race and i am thinking about gender. even when i was in school. being in a predominantly white institution, i can't tell you there wasn't a day i didn't think about being black or a woman. i do think about those, especially when entering into a job or anything like that. what the dynamics are going to look like. what is my position? how am i going to show up? how am i going to be present in
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this space? i'm always thinking about that. it is true that we're very optimistic. we want to believe we're moving. policies are showing that slowly. i'm sort of happy. but i'm always thinking. i can't say that i'm never conscious about that. >> it goes back to the organizing principle. if race and gender make no difference, i may not be concerned about paycheck fairness act. i wanted to show you an affirmative action when we look at white millenials and what they think about discrimination, apparently 58% of white millenials agree that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against black and other minorities for hispanic and black millenials strongly reject the statement. that idea that this is not an issue and then we look at affirmative action, only 3% of white millenials believing that we should have affirmative action to make up for past discrimination. interestingly, 15% of black millenials we should have affirmative action to make up for past discrimination.
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that's a policy issue. >> that's a policy issue. i talk to friends about this all the time. i think my students, millenials are very, very entitled these days. in some ways that's good. we should feel entitled that discrimination should not exist. >> and that you deserve fair wages and social security. >> i like that kind of entitlement. that's the kind of entitlement we should all encourage. on the other hand, it precludes the work that still has to be done to end all sorts of workplace discrimination requiring organizing and voting. which requires politics, right? it requires work to say no, no, no there's a glass ceiling here by gender or by race and we're going to bust through it. that requires collective action of some sort. so the entitlement on the one hand is a good thing. but it also worries me in the sense that we might not be equipping students with the tools they might need to go out into the workforce and when you come up against some of those barriers, we haven't equipped
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you with how to breakthrough them. >> it feels like not only do we want the kind of career training, we also want, i know wake is part of this, the kind of person training. wherever you stand, whether democrat, republican or any of those things, you recognize republican or those things that you recognize, it's both you and your individual and also the ways in which you are a person engaged. don't go anywhere yet. we're still waiting for the president's speech. after the break, just in case the president isn't ready yet, i'm going to have a commencement address from nerd land. [ phil ] when you have joint pain and stiffness... accomplishing even little things can become major victories. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. when i was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, my rheumatologist prescribed enbrel for my pain and stiffness, and to help stop joint damage. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders,
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for today's footnote, my advice to the class of 2013: be ignorant. we have taught you to think of education as a code you can crack, taught to you value grades and scores more than learning. as you graduate, remember all learning begins with ignorance.
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be willing to embrace wonder, to experience unexpected discovery and to go in unknown directions, a posture of ignorance compels you to keep learning. never become so enamored of your own smarts that you start signing up for life's hard classes. keep your conclusions light and your curiosity ferocious. keep groping in the darkness with raf nous desire to know more. be passionate. as educated americans, you have choices that most don't have, even with the vast inequalities your degree places you amongst the most privileged. most people are forced to work jobs that pay the bills and starve their spirits. you may be able to escape this fate. never trade your soul for a paycheck. be of service. you are taking your degree into a society dominated by concentrated poverty and a
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vulnerable middle class, where it's harder to get education, harder to find a job, harder to buy a house, harder to hold on to those things, even if you get them. there is a lot to do. service is the rent you pay for the space you take up on the earth. as a relatively privileged american, you take up a lot of space. we're the most consuming, polluting, wasteful nation on earth. so make your payment. and lastly, make mistakes. we've rewarded you for following the rules but not for making your own. if you're unwilling to make mistakes, you cannot find your way to your passion. you can't manage to be of service. mistakes are the tool to all invention. throw your perfect self head long into the painfully scary
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world. class of 2013, we're counting on you. we're sending you out to an imperfect world with imperfect skills. what you do will define your generation. it will define our nation and our world. congratulations, graduates. that's our show for today. thank you for watching. i'll see you next saturday at 10:00. coming up, "weekend" with alex witt. ] advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis
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this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪ hello, everybody. you are looking at the president. he is just about to take to the podium at morehouse college in atlanta, where he will give the commencement address. he'll be bestowing the grease on some 500 morehouse men, who will take to graduating today. we're going to let you listen to a little bit of the music that is immediately preceding the president. you're going to hear an anthem called the exhortation. they're being assisted by the
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morehouse brass ensemble. mr. brent gaines is the director. let's take a listen to some beautiful music on this sunday. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪